So I woke up to the news today that Prime Minister Stephen Harper, via his minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn, had fired the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Linda Keen. A couple of days ago I ranted about the government's threats to do just this. In a nutshell, the government didn't like that she stood up to them when they wanted to re-open a nuclear facility that hadn't complied with the necessary safety upgrades, specifically they had "failed to install a back up power system that would keep the reactor under control following a natural disaster or a major fire." Because the nuclear facility was in the business of making radioactive isotopes for medical tests and treatment, Ms. Keen was vilified as being instrumental in witholding medical services to waiting patients. Even though alternative sources for these isotopes were available from other countries, albeit more expensively.
So this is the kind of government we have as Canadians: one which can't stand any kind of criticism, even when it comes to keeping the Canadian people (not to mention the entire world) safe from a potential nuclear disaster. A government that has to fire the people who criticize them, even when they are doing the job they were appointed to do as an independent agency, by the government. They even fired her before she could testify, at the request of the government, on the topic of nuclear safety issues. Perhaps the government has also redefined the word "independent" to mean something other than what I think it means?
This action would be similar to that of lodging a complaint against a community doctor because he was reporting on the unusually high instances of cancer in a population of First Nations people who lived downstream from from oil sands extraction plants. Oh wait, that already happened.
All of this sure gives me the pleasant glow of trust and security when I re-read in the letter the Premier of Alberta sent me that any nuclear development in Alberta would first be thoroughly reviewed by: "The CNSC... an independent federal agency that regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials in Canada in order to protect our health, safety, security and the environment." An independent agency.... right. By the time it comes to review the application to build that nuclear facility, a nice Conservative appointee will have filled Linda Keen's place as president of the CNSC. A nice, obedient, yes-man (you can bet it will be a man) who will happily do his master Steven's bidding.
Not sure if I should apologize for the bitter, angry tone or not, I'm just so SO angry about this right now.
You can seen the exchange of correspondence between Linda Keen and the Minister of Natural Resources here - it makes for some really interesting reading, including a reference to the Supreme Court's idea of "independent" which is different from the government's, apparently.
Photos From Along The Way
3 days ago